Pain Relief Beyond Belief





From Blakey to Brown, Como to Costa, Eckstine to Eldridge, Galbraith to Garner, Harris to Hines, Horne to Hyman, Jamal to Jefferson, Kelly to Klook; Mancini to Marmarosa, May to Mitchell, Negri to Nestico, Parlan to Ponder, Reed to Ruther, Strayhorn to Sullivan, Turk to Turrentine, Wade to Williams… the forthcoming publication Treasury of Pittsburgh Jazz Connections by Dr. Nelson Harrison and Dr. Ralph Proctor, Jr. will document the legacy of one of the world’s greatest jazz capitals.


Do you want to know who Dizzy Gillespie  idolized? Did you ever wonder who inspired Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey? Who was the pianist that mentored Monk, Bud Powell, Tad Dameron, Elmo Hope, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme? Who was Art Tatum’s idol and Nat Cole’s mentor? What musical quartet pioneered the concept adopted later by the Modern Jazz Quartet? Were you ever curious to know who taught saxophone to Stanley Turrentine or who taught piano to Ahmad Jamal? What community music school trained Robert McFerrin, Sr. for his history-making debut with the Metropolitan Opera? What virtually unknown pianist was a significant influence on young John Coltrane, Shirley Scott, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Timmons and Ray Bryant when he moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh in the 1940s?  Would you be surprised to know that Erroll Garner attended classes at the Julliard School of Music in New York and was at the top of his class in writing and arranging proficiency?


Some answers  can be gleaned from the postings on the Pittsburgh Jazz Network.


For almost 100 years the Pittsburgh region has been a metacenter of jazz originality that is second to no other in the history of jazz.  One of the best kept secrets in jazz folklore, the Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy has heretofore remained mythical.  We have dubbed it “the greatest story never told” since it has not been represented in writing before now in such a way as to be accessible to anyone seeking to know more about it.  When it was happening, little did we know how priceless the memories would become when the times were gone.


Today jazz is still king in Pittsburgh, with events, performances and activities happening all the time. The Pittsburgh Jazz Network is dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the places, artists and fans that carry on the legacy of Pittsburgh's jazz heritage.






Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin



       In Her Own Words



There is a dearth of oral history available documenting the greatness of the Pittsburgh Jazz Tradition and Legacy.. Please feel free to add a quote of your own or words of wisdom or humor from a Pittsburgh artist that you may find of interest.

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Members: 79
Latest Activity: Jun 20

I don't need time. What I need is a deadline. -Duke Ellington, jazz pianist, composer, and conductor (1899-1974)

Discussion Forum

"No One Could Tell You How To Play"

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Nov 15, 2018. 0 Replies

Ellis Marsalis Interview - 2002: Part Six

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jan 15, 2017. 0 Replies

Ellis Marsalis Interview - 2002: Part Five

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jan 15, 2017. 0 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 19, 2019 at 6:50am
To flourish as a musician - as a human being - there is no substitute for deep listening. For learning how to be still, learning how to quiet the chatter and with an open heart underpinned by disciplined work on your craft to deeply listen before responding. 

With practice we can learn to deeply listen and appropriately respond in the midst of the flow of improvised music, of business negotiations, of dialogue with family and friends and others.
-Brian (Open Studio - Play Jazz)
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 14, 2019 at 3:47am

"Music does not exist except in the moment it is being performed.  For even if a person can read notes ever so well and has an ever so vivid imagination, he still cannot deny that only in a figurative sense does music exist when it is being read.  It only actually exists when it is being performed.  That might seem an imperfection in this art in comparison with the other arts whose works continually exist because they have their continuance in the sensuous.  But this is not so.  it is indeed a demonstration that it is a higher, more spiritual art."  .---The Essential Kierkegaard, p. 48 ---

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 27, 2018 at 4:00am
Jack DeJohnette Interview: 

CB: Do you ever get to a place where you feel like your ideas aren’t as fresh? How do you work through that?

JD: My process is endless. I have a saying—and this is not just for music, this is for everybody. The whole universe is creative; that’s what we are apart of. It’s endless! The many dimensions, like galaxies and stars—it’s awesome! You can think ‘I’m part of that tree, I’m part of that flower.’ We are all part of the same creative consciousness essence. What happens when we become creative after writing a book, painting, or trying to come up with an idea for something that’s got you stuck—I just open myself up and tap into the source and the library of creative consciousness, and there are endless ideas. Just open yourself up to that channel; its like a radio, you just switch the channel. You and universal consciousness kind of work together. We’re always talking,‘Me! Me! Me! I did that!’ Well, not necessarily so. We have angels, guides and energies around us that are always there. When we open up and need help, they’re there to help us. I never worry about running out of ideas. Once I’ve tapped into that space I know I’m going to play something I’ll never play again. We all have that capacity.

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 4, 2018 at 4:46am

"Like, when you go on the bandstand and start to play, you know what I mean, you go in a trance. I mean, you’re out of it. I mean, you’re only involved in what the other musicians are doing. Well, that’s the relief of playing music, because when you can play music, and if you really get involved in it, and you love it and you enjoy it, and you enjoy and respect the people you’re playing with, there’s nothing like that in the world. There’s nothing like a guy that goes in a trance. He’s right there, you can look in his eyes, but his brain is only in the music and only what the other musicians are doing and what he is doing. That requires a great deal of concentration. You have to be sympathetic. You have to be understanding. You have to be friendly, mean, nasty, cold-blooded and everything at the same time, you know — without being hateful, though." - Arthur Taylor (WKCR interview with Ted Panken)

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on August 21, 2018 at 4:43am

"I was playing with Horace (Silver), John B. Wiliams, Bennie Maupin and Bill Hardman at The Copenhagen Jazz Festival. We're rocking all the way down the road to the point where in the 10 months I worked for Mr. Silver I experienced my first out of body experience. Where I actually left my body on the bandstand, sat down in the audience and watched myself and the band play. It scared me half to death. We had come to a point I never knew before. We were playing so in sync that it was all as if we were in slow motion. But I heard every note and everything worked perfectly for me. I understood immediately that something like this doesn't come everyday. Maybe it might happen only once in my life. Although I have now experienced it more than once in my life, more than twice in my life. But it has been on specific occasions. There is no reward, there is no Oscar for this except to be able to sit there and go, "wow, that's amazing. I never knew the band could sound like this." Again, it's the band! It's not Horace, it's not The Mahavishnu Orchestra, not The Billy Cobham Band. Just the band......"

Excerpt of a radio interview hosted by Jake D Feinberg with Billy Cobham (4/18/15)

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on March 19, 2018 at 4:40pm

How late do you have to be before you are absent? ---George Clinton

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on March 19, 2018 at 4:39pm

Brother can you paradigm? ---George Clinton

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on March 19, 2018 at 4:39pm

You have no friends. ---John Henry Clark

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 7, 2018 at 9:33pm

One cannot explain or describe the third dimension using the terminology of the second, nor the fourth dimension using the terminology of the third. Understanding comes from the higher perspective not the lower.  Likewise it is futile to attempt to describe musical improvisation in the terminology of two dimensional sheet music.  It would be equally absurd to try to describe traffic using a map. ---Nelson E. Harrison

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 7, 2018 at 9:27pm

"I practice singing everything that I play and vice-versa. This gives me a connection to music; and the instrument becomes what it is intended for, an extension of my voice. I practice all of the vocal inflections that I may want to emulate when I play-and I do them right away."

-Wycliffe Gordon

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